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Um... depends what you mean by "better". You're comparing apples to oranges. They're very different. Very different! Horizons and BJU are your typical math curricula that have colorful pictures, cute little examples, and of course you already know they're fast-paced. R&S is old-school. It's all the plain brownish color print. Very few pictures. Biblical examples (like, for money, you'll see a little girl putting a coin in the church's collection basket). It's a very slow-moving curriculum with tons of practice and review. I like it because Ben has delayed motor skills, so it helps reinforce his writing, and I like it because it focuses on mastery of sets (adding 2's, adding 3's, adding 4's, etc.). When we used Abeka, it was a little too conceptual for my taste. Sure, he knows conceptually that 2 apples plus 7 apples equals 9 apples, but I wanted him to be able to spout off 2+7= ..... NINE! without any hesitation. We're eventually going to go back to Horizons (unless I decide to use R&S for multiplication as well), but in the long run, we'll switch to Life of Fred for higher math. R&S only goes up to 8th grade. No algebra at all. Some people like R&S for math, but a lot of people don't, because when compared to other programs out there, it doesn't give you an edge. Sure, you can accelerate through it if you want. If, for example, your child is supposed to be in "3rd grade" and you need to switch back to PS for some reason, doing 3rd grade horizons would put your kid at the head of the class, because she'd be on a 4th or 5th grade level by state standards, but doing 3rd with R&S would put her at or slightly below grade level depending on when the state teaches certain things ... like quantity, measurement, etc. You'd need to be working 6-18 months ahead in R&S to have the same edge.
Does that make sense? Sorry... probably a jumbled mess. Yes, I love R&S. It has merit. If you're looking for something with bright pictures, not a whole lot of repetition, and a bit of a challenge, R&S isn't for you.
We've used them for three years for our English program, and LOVE it. It's heavy and definitely needs tweaking for an individual student, but find your groove and it's great.
Our groove includes having my son read the lesson on his own (he's 5th grade) and then come to me to do the oral drill. If he does well (he almost always does), then I send him to do the corresponding worksheet if there is one. If there's not one we do the written exercise; that's almost the only time we do the written exercise. Often we don't do the WHOLE written exercise; sometimes we do it all but part of it we do orally.
We do always do the written exercise on the pre-determined composition exercises. These are clearly marked in the TOC of the teacher edition (which I HIGHLY recommend with these as they are superb and will walk you through the lesson step-by-step if you choose to use it that way). These are the ones that are writing paragraphs or letters... or sometimes practicing introductions or speaking on the telephone (which obviously doesn't require putting pen to paper). My son has some small motor skill issues, and since I started letting him do these composition exercises on the computer (he's proficient at typing for this reason), it's no-fuss most of the time.
Highly recommend R&S to anyone who asks. If we ever had need or want to go with a boxed curriculum, R&S is what we'd use!
I haven't used any of their other subjects though, so the grammar is all I can comment on.
Much thanks to Alethia for my beautiful siggie and tags!!
for Rod and Staff English, we have the Phonic flash cards and vocabulary cards that my older sister gave us to use as a supplement with my youngest. I have heard great things about their English curriculum and I am considering getting it for our oldest son because he struggles with Language Arts.
We are using Horizons Math this year and staying with that for my oldest while beginning with Rod and Staff Math with my youngest next year. I have seen the curriulum and like the ideas it presents. I agree it is more structured and does not have the distracting color images that most books like Horizons Math has.
I can't comment on the Rod and Staff History because I have not seen it. I do know that R&S does not begin History until grade 4.
I like what I have seen for the Science at the lower grade levels. Most the books remind me of what we are reading as part of our Nature Study with Christian Liberty Press (Nature Readers). The rest of our Nature Study resources are from the Handbook of Nature Study and other sites.
Sandra. Wife to Timothy and Homeschool mom to Michael and Matthew
Married for 14+ years to the love of my life. Currently TTCing.
We use it for English and love it! In fact when I pulled my kids out of public school I had to go down a grade so to speak in R&S English with my oldest because it seemed like R&S English is about a grade ahead. So I wanted my oldest to master some of the things and not just jump into them and be completely lost. So actually both my girls are doing the 5th grade one this year (one is technically 5th grade and the other is 6th grade although I try not to go by number grades so much) And my son who is in 3rd grade is doing the 3rd grade one. If you are starting from the beginning or a younger grade I don't think there will be a problem jumping in.
Can't comment on Math, Science or History. I am looking into Teaching Textbooks math for them this fall,Mystery of History and I am pretty sure we are doing the new Apologia Anatomy for science(I would love to start this one ASAP but dh is "making" me finish our current science-I am just so excited for the anatomy one! lol)
Thanks Vicki for my signature!
Last edited by mom2mande; March 25th, 2010 at 08:25 PM.